Excerpted with permission from "The PhotoReading Whole Mind System." Third Edition, ?999.
The demands placed on you as a reader in our age of information are tremendous. The PhotoReading whole mind system can help you meet any challenge. It works with any subject matter and flexibly adapts to different purposes, print formats, rates of speed, and levels of comprehension.
The five steps of the PhotoReading whole mind system use the abilities of your whole mind with power and effectiveness. Let us overview the steps now. In the next five chapters you will develop skills to apply each step effectively.
Step 1: Prepare
Reading effectively begins with a clear sense of purpose. This means consciously stating a desired outcome for reading. For example, we might want a brief overview of main points. We might want to gain certain details such as the solutions to specific problems. Perhaps we want to complete a task and seek only the ideas that will help us do so. Purpose acts like a radar signal to the inner mind allowing it to produce the results we seek.
Empowered with a clear purpose, we then enter a state of relaxed alertness—the accelerative learning state. While in this state, neither boredom nor anxiety exist. We are exerting effort, but we are not worried about results. Have you ever watched young children as they play? They model the same relaxed yet purposeful state we
Step 2: Preview
Previewing is based on an important principle: effective learning often takes place “from whole to parts.” That is, we start with the big picture and proceed to the smaller, more
First we survey the written material. Our aim is not to grasp the content in detail, but to get a sense of its structure. Then we gather a list of key terms, or trigger words, which embody the core concepts or events. Trigger words alert our minds to the details we might want to explore more thoroughly later.
When done effectively, previewing is short and sweet—about five minutes for a book, three minutes for a report, and as little as 30 seconds for an article. During that time, we clarify and refine our purpose, review the trigger words, and decide whether to continue reading or call it quits. If we choose not to read something that does not meet our needs or interests, it is all right.
Previewing is like x-raying a book—getting a broad sense of its underlying structure. Understanding structure gives us something that learning theorists call a schema, a set of expectations about what is coming up next. When we know the structure of written text, we become more accurate at predicting its content. As a result, our comprehension and reading
In summary, previewing gives us the skeleton of a book or article first. During the next steps of the PhotoReading whole mind system, we add body to the skeleton.
Step 3: PhotoRead
The PhotoReading technique begins with placing ourselves more fully into the relaxed, alert state of mind and body called the accelerative learning state. In this state, distractions, worries, and tensions seem to fall away.
Then we adjust our vision for the PhotoFocus state. Here the aim is to use our eyes in a new way: instead of bringing individual words into sharp focus, we soften our eyes so that our peripheral vision expands and the whole printed page comes into view.
PhotoFocus creates a physical and mental window—allowing direct exposure of the incoming visual stimuli to the brain. In this state, we mentally photograph the entire page, exposing it to the preconscious processor of the mind. The exposure of each page stimulates a direct neurological response. The brain performs its function of pattern recognition, unencumbered by the critical/logical thought process of the conscious mind.
At a rate of one page a second, we can PhotoRead a whole book in three to five minutes. This is not traditional reading. After PhotoReading, we may have little if any of the material in conscious awareness, which means we may consciously know nothing. The next steps create the conscious awareness we need.
Step 4: Activate
During activation we restimulate the brain—probing the mind with questions and exploring parts of the text to which we feel most attracted. We then super read the most important parts of the text by scanning quickly down the center of each page or column of type.
When we feel it is appropriate, we dip into the text for more focused reading to comprehend the details. In dipping, we allow our intuition to say, “Hey, turn to the last paragraph on page 147! Yes, that is the one. The ideas you want are right there.”
Other activation techniques developed while reading this book include rhythmic perusal, skittering, and mind mapping. These also help us gain access to the deeper impressions established by PhotoReading. When we activate, we involve our whole brain, connect the text with our conscious awareness, and achieve our goals for reading.
Step 5: Rapid Read
This final step of the PhotoReading whole mind system is closest to conventional reading and speed reading. While rapid reading, we move our eyes quickly through the text, starting at the beginning and going straight through to the end. We take as much time as we need, feeling free to adjust our reading speed depending upon the complexity, prior knowledge, and importance of the material. Flexibility is key.
Rapid reading is significant, because it dispels the prime fear of many beginning PhotoReaders that they will forget what they have read, or that they never absorbed any of the text in the first place. Rapid reading directly involves the conscious mind and satisfies our need for clear comprehension of the content.
Remember, this step takes place after the other steps of the system. Those steps make us increasingly familiar with the text. There will be times when we choose not to rapid read, because we have already fulfilled our needs.
With this overview in mind, you are ready to do it.
Paul Scheele has authored over 30 books and audio tape programs to help you reach your potential. Over 150,000 copies of his book, "The PhotoReading Whole Mind System," has sold. Other titles include "Natural Brilliance," "Ideal Mindset," "Decisive Action," and "Consisten Achievement."